Phyllodes tumours are rare breast tumours that develop in the connective tissue of the breast, as opposed to more common carcinomas, which develop in the ducts or lobules of the breast
Presently, patients with the rare tumours are treated either with a lumpectomy or mastectomy, with only a small fraction receiving radiation therapy.
The adjuvant radiation therapy is recommended for cancer patients with local recurrence risks of 15 percent or greater but the effect have never been studied for phyllodes tumors because they are so rare.
Researchers reviewed the records of 478 patients with malignant phyllodes tumors who were treated between March 1964 and August 2005 and found that the risk of local recurrence for phyllodes tumors was related to tumour size and the type of surgery received.
"Typically these tumours are treated well by surgery alone. However, local recurrences are not uncommon," said Richard Pezner, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif.
They determined that adjuvant radiation therapy should be evaluated for phyllodes tumor patients who received lumpectomies for tumours at least 2 centimeters in size or a mastectomy for tumours at least 10 centimetres in size to reduce the risk of recurrence.
The study appears in the July issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.